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Coral might survive in warmer ocean water, scientists say


Fish are seen swimming around coral formations on January 15, 2012, in Lady Elliot Island, Australia.


Mark Kolbe

Coral that has been exposed to fluctuating water temperatures in the past may be able to survive in warmer ocean water in the future, giving hope that the world's reefs will continue to have long-term wellbeing. 

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Scientists from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the University of British Columbia in Canada and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the United States made the discovery when studying the health of coral in the remote Pacific island republic of Kiribati, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Jessica Carilli, a post-doctoral fellow in ANSTO's Institute for Environmental Research, took part in the research. She said the findings show that some coral reefs will be able to survive a predicted rise in sea temperatures caused by climate change.

"This study is the first to quantitatively show that the cumulative effects of deforestation and possibly overfishing were degrading Caribbean coral and molluscan communities long before climate change impacts began to really devastate reefs," said lead author Katie Cramer to the Summit County Citizens Voice.

Coral reefs have suffered since the 1980s due to coral bleaching and coral disease, according to the Summit County Citizens Voice. The bleaching and disease are thought to have been caused by the warming of the oceans due to human-induced climate change.